Continental develops intelligent surface materials for enhanced comfort and safety

May 16, 2019   Technology

Through the ongoing development of its smart surface materials, Continental is not only contributing to increased road safety, but also enhancing driver comfort.

“The integration of light effects is an important milestone in how surface materials are deployed in vehicles,” said Dr. Erhard Barho, who is responsible for the development of functional surfaces at Continental. “Changing light sources allow the colors to be individually adapted to the ambient conditions. If the driver is tired or road conditions are hazardous, the surfaces could change their color to increase the driver’s awareness level again.” 


Continental believes that translucent surface materials are the key to imbuing soft surfaces in car interiors with greater levels of functionality and personalisation and is already set to present a range of solutions.


The Acella Hylite translucent cover material allows a range of digital functions to be integrated in the vehicle interior and opens up myriad design possibilities for personalised light design. The basic lighting can adapt to the circadian rhythm, weather conditions and ambient light, while the accent lighting can create different moods with different color schemes and color intensities. 


This technology can also illuminate the driver’s and front seat passenger’s areas as well as the back of the car separately depending on the current circumstances and driving situation, allowing different lighting for activities such as driving, reading or sleeping.


With the Decoject thin film for doors, consoles and other components, the technology company has developed a high-quality and cost-effective alternative to coated injection-molded parts in vehicle interiors. This product is the perfect way to enhance the functionality and appearance of vehicle interiors, with the translucent version offering even greater functionality such as warning lights integrated in consoles. 


The material is highly scratch-resistant and pleasant to the touch – in fact, like the colour and glossiness, one can choose from different surface textures. Different colors, printed decors and effect coatings offer a huge range of design choices. With Decoject, one can change the decor very easily and with little preparation time and so avoid costs associated with process waste.


In addition to translucent surface materials, Continental will also be showcasing its surface expertise for car seats. Here, a mix of different materials can ensure that the different zones are capable of withstanding the different stresses and strains to which they are subjected, which, in turn, helps to enhance driver comfort. 


Breathable surfaces act as a form of passive air-conditioning. The current trend is toward materials that are as sustainable as possible and extremely durable, which is why the films and cover materials developed not only have an exceptional look and feel but are also exceptionally long-lasting.

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